Wedding shoes for the win! Normally, I would share this kind of silly thing via facebook, but the husband would see it, and I’m sure be a little horrified that I spent so much money on shoes (but still sweetly, secretly happy for me. No? Ok, maybe not.). As far as I know, it’s safe to post here, because he doesn’t read my musings on this site; he gets to hear them all the time in person! Lucky him. 🙂 But anyway, the wedding choos have been procured, and they are gorgeous. Worth every penny, and I will most definitely get some use out of them. Ok, enough about that.
We have been so busy these past few weeks, because life events decided to hit us like a freight train all at once. The wedding planning is almost done, but it has sucked up almost all of our spare time. Come to think of it, I’m not sure I know what spare time feels like anymore. The good news is, we are in really good shape at this point and starting to get very excited for the actual event. It’s going to be so nice to be able to see everyone and to really celebrate our marriage with all of our loved ones. It happened so quickly almost a year ago(!), that it’s almost a blur now. I hope we remember to sit back, look around, and enjoy the moment this year.
On top of finalizing all of the last minute details (and finalizing things that shouldn’t have been last minute details – like a videographer – oops), the bid list for our next post is out! The list came out almost three weeks ago and is full of a zillion possibilities. Not a zillion, but it actually does have several hundred positions on it – so how do you narrow that down to the 30 that we actually bid on? Well, it all comes down to a few factors for us: language, differential (basically hardship), and timing.
Since we’re in London for M’s first job and it doesn’t require a language, we know that he will have to do a language designated job at his next post. Every officer is required to learn a language up to a certain level before they are off of what is called “language probation.” Knowing this, we were able to immediately remove a handful of posts – i.e. any post that had no language requirement.
Second, again, because we are in “cushy” London, (I use quotes, because I beg to differ on this idea of cushiness sometimes; mainly after the 54th straight day of clouds and 40 degree weather in “spring” in the northern hemisphere) we are required to bid on a certain number of positions that have a 15% or higher differential. The differential is determined by a combination of several factors, but basically equates to hardship and how difficult life is in that city in comparison to the States. So, London obviously has 0% differential. Making us bid on higher differential posts is a way the Foreign Service has of trying to equalize the amount of really difficult places people get posted to, versus really nice places.
So then that leaves, arguably, the most important factor: timing. Each job on the list has a target month for arrival at post. M needs to bid on posts where the day of arrival at post after all of the necessary language and/or functional training, and after four weeks of home leave, would be within a certain number of weeks of that target arrival month. He can’t bid on more than 6 that have “imperfect” timing, which are basically any where we would get to post more than 8 weeks from the desired arrival date.
So in a nutshell, this all translates into a really complicated spreadsheet that makes it all look very uncomplicated, and surprisingly, still a lot of good options. The other problem though, is that we don’t get to bid off of this current list. Yes, that’s right. The saga continues! The bidding is split into two groups. The people in the harder posts right now get to bid first, and then, theoretically, we should get the second revised list to bid on after that first group has gotten all of their assignments. It’s pretty crazy and a little nervewracking, but this is where wedding planning comes in. We’ve BARELY thought about it. The first group had to turn in their bids on Monday, and I’ve thought about getting the new list a whopping…mmm, 2 times this whole week? This is in comparison to the first time around, when M was still in A-100 and the bid list and flag day ruled my every waking thought. Sure, we’ve done a lot of research on posts and have continued to make notes in our awesome ‘bid list spreadsheet’ over the past three weeks, but it has not been the bane of our existence, which is a very nice change. I guess we just swapped out obsessing over bidding for obsessing over wedding, but it’s at least nice not to stress about both at the same time.
So I’ll keep you posted! We need to turn in our list before we go on our honeymoon, because the due date of course falls right in the middle of our trip. Also a possible bonus to just be forced to get it overwith early? Although it is a little scary to think of what could happen if there is a problem with our choices, or something drastically changes on the list, all whilst we are in the middle of the Serengeti making friends with giraffes, and sending messages from our kitties to the lions in the wild. Keep your fingers crossed for us.